The globalized economy and automation have eliminated millions of jobs around the world, but the integration of advanced technologies into the workplace has also brought about millions of new jobs in the labor market. In fact, LinkedIn recently analyzed job postings to determine the most in-demand skills for 2019 and found that technical skill categories like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analytical reasoning topped the list. After analyzing the Bureau of Labor Statistics June 2019 Employment Report, IT trade group CompTIA estimated that there are more than 700,000 unfilled information technology jobs in the United States alone.
With so many available jobs in the IT industry, Riverside Rising views this as an opportunity to strategically integrate the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning approach into schools, community colleges, and other support organizations. Riverside Rising will play an important role in the Mississippi Delta region by providing the opportunity for young adults (ages 16-24) to participate in a tech-based coding academy using facilities at existing academic institutions, including high schools and community colleges.
Additionally, Riverside Rising will partner with K-12 schools, non-profit organizations, and regional employers to facilitate practical skills training and work experience for opportunity youth in the four-county region.
Programming will include:
- Paid internships with local and regional employers
- Financial literacy classes
- Introductory technology classes
- Soft skills development
Partnerships are crucial to the execution of this type of programming, and there are successful coding academies in other parts of the state and across the country that Riverside Rising will seek to learn from and partner with to implement a coding academy in the Mississippi Delta region.
Based in Water Valley, MS, Base Camp Coding Academy is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that trains high school students to become software developers in 12 months. In February 2019, the Mississippi Community College Board unanimously approved the initial adoption of Base Camp’s coding curriculum which allows the state’s 15 community colleges access to the curriculum for use in their computer coding programs. Base Camp’s cutting-edge curriculum can lead students to a Career or Technical Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree.
Based in Albuquerque, NM, Cultivating Coders is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that trains high school students and adults to become amateur software developers in 2-3 months. Cultivating Coders is a coding boot camp that travels to rural, tribal, and underserved areas, provides industry-driven training and connects their students to remote and in-person job opportunities.
Based in Manhattan, NY, Flatiron School is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization, founded by a venture capitalist and a self-taught computer programmer, that trains students of all ages in the fields of software engineering, data science, and UX/UI design. Since 2012, Flatiron School has expanded from one campus to 11 campuses across the United States. Additionally, Flatiron School offers their proprietary, gamified online learning platform called Learn.co to expand access to their programs to people around the world.
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, LaunchCode is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that helps job seekers enter the tech field by providing accessible education, training, and paid apprenticeship job placement. LaunchCode offers four primary programs to meet the needs of people with no prior coding knowledge or experience and even those who already have the technical skills needed but want to be placed in a paid apprenticeship position.
Based in Jackson, MS and Starkville, MS, Mississippi Coding Academies is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides an 11-month training program for young adults to become full-stack coders and software professionals. The organization is part if a non-profit economic development and educational initiative sponsored by Innovate Mississippi, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Works program, Mississippi State University, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Riverside Rising will partner with existing academic institutions and training providers in the Mississippi Delta region to host coding academies for high school students and young adults.
- Delta State University (Cleveland, MS)
- West Bolivar High School (Rosedale, MS)
- Coahoma Community College (Clarksdale, MS)
- Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School (Clarksdale, MS)
- Mississippi Delta Community College (Moorhead, MS)
- Ruleville Central High School (Ruleville, MS)
- Greenville High School (Greenville, MS)
- Greenville Technical Center (Greenville, MS)
Each of the identified partner organizations provides its own proven methods, curriculum, and instruction, but for a workforce training and education program to be successful, it is essential to connect with local, regional, and state employers.
There are employers across the state and the lower Mississippi River Delta region that need workers with these technical skills. Riverside Rising will engage these employers from the beginning to identify their needs so that the coding academy’s curriculum reflects the skills needed by the industry.
Furthermore, these preliminary meetings will inform Riverside Rising about which organization(s) will best serve the needs of all parties involved including employers, job seekers, and other program participants.
Riverside Rising’s Coding Academy is not yet designed to be a permanent program in the Mississippi Delta region. There are plenty of partners already working in this space who can provide on-site instruction and online courses seasonally for interested individuals in the region.
If the demand for this type of programming increases beyond the capacity of the temporary coding academies and graduates are being placed in high-quality jobs, Riverside Rising will determine when and where a permanent coding academy will be constructed in the region. Until then, Riverside Rising will partner with these practitioners to implement a variety of their training programs and analyze which programs work best for the development of young people in the region.
Other expansion opportunities include coding academies for local teachers and unemployed or underemployed adults.